Sinulog 2016a

It’s Fiesta Senyor in Cebu once again!

It always moves me to tears to see the millions of crowds at the Basilica del Sto. Niño when they wave their arms that look like the sulog or the waves of the river flowing, as the chorus of the gozos is sung!

Sto. Niño reminds us that God chose to be born in the normal process of childbirth, growing up as a child to adulthood.  God wants to show to human beings how special we are that He chose to be one like us to save us.

The gospel this year reminds us of the Child Jesus being lost in the crowd while Joseph and Mary were looking for him.  “Did you not know that I have to be in my Father’s house?”

Sinulog 2016bJesus was born with a mission from the Father to be fulfilled on earth.  So it is with every one of us and every child born day by day.  Each one has a mission from the Father.  It is the responsibility of the parents to nurture the child to be able to fulfill this mission in his/her life.  The child needs to be guided to his/her life direction, meaning and fulfillment.  Sad to say that many of our kids have gone astray.

Looking at the child image of Jesus in Sto. Niño, reminds me to celebrate “original innocence”.  The innocence of a child that is threatened and affected by the presence of evil in the world.  The child who needs the protection from parents and adults around him so as not to be drawn to a life of idolatry, crimes and destruction.

Pit Senyor! Let us celebrate childhood and all the joys that are unique only to children.  Let us protect our children from laziness and all kinds of addiction that destroy them.  Let us provide every opportunity to the child to develop into a mature and responsible adult to lead the future of the world!

Sinulog is a life dance.  We dance through life from the womb to the tomb.  We dance to the beats of the joys and pains in life.  We try to move on no matter how tired we become and move back once in a while to see where we need to learn more from the past. Sinulog is a dance of moving forward more steps and moving backward a few steps to go with the rhythm of life. The rhythm continues – of falling and rising and moving on with new hopes and greater faith.

Senior Sto. Niño, pray for us and protect us always!

Star del Mar

Sinulog 2016


Happy New Year 2016!

Happy New Year

Happy New Year 2016! 

We cannot erase the past,

we must ‘let it go;’

We cannot change yesterday,

we must accept the lessons learned;

We cannot stop time, we

must abide by its demands;  

We cannot predict tomorrow,

we must allow God to take control.

Let love, faith and hope be

the answer to the mysteries of life.  

Let it go… 2015! Welcome… 2016!

Happy New Year to one and all!


Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God


Heavenly Father, You blessed the Virgin Mary with the fullness of grace. She is my model of faith, hope, and love. I give this New Year 2016 to her intercession and ask for her holy prayers. Place my needs into the protection of her motherly love. With her help, I want my faith to grow. Give me an increase in the virtue of hope when troubles tempt me to despair. Guide me in understanding Your infinite love. And join my heart, dear Lord, to the Holy Mother’s Immaculate Heart, so that I may improve in loving everyone unconditionally, in imitation of my Savior, Jesus.


Merry Christmas Everyone!



It’s Christmas 2015!

You are hereIt’s Christmas 2015! I wish you all a very Merry Christmas full of God’s love and blessings expressed in many ways: through our family members, friends, and community.

imagesThe joy we feel in this Season comes from the joys we give to others in one way or another, in small or big things through tokens of things but more so in showing to them that we care, we remember, we love and we wish them the best.

We want to thank all those who had come to visit us at the Cebu Lay Formation Center to have retreats, recollections, seminars, training or simply a friendly visit. Thank you very much! We hope to see you again in 2016.

Let’s pray for PEACE and true service from our government leaders in the Philippines and in other countries. We pray for true prosperity in the coming year!





A Time of Preparation!



It’s Advent! A time of preparation,

of expectation, of hope!

It’s time to make that Christmas list,

choose gifts for family, relatives,

friends and those in need.

But more important than the wrapped gifts

to prepare is to prepare ourselves.

What do we want Jesus to see

in ourselves for his birthday?

What could be the best gift

that we can offer to Jesus?

Jesus does not need

our material things.

What He needs are:

patience, humility, forgiveness,

kindness, justice, respect,

service, care and love for others

especially to our own family and community.

WE wish you the graces and inspiration of Advent!

A blessed Advent to one and all!

Star del Mar



CLFC Celebrates Star’s Birthday!

Happy Birthday

Star del Mar


Star birthday

Star birthday-1

Star birthday-2

Seminar-Workshop on Creative Ways of Teaching the Bible to Children



The Cebu Lay Formation Center (CLFC), owned by the Archdiocese of Cebu, located at Talamban, Cebu City, is offering a seminar-workshop on CREATIVE WAYS OF TEACHING THE BIBLE TO CHILDREN using the book INSPIRATION AND IMAGINATION written by Charles Javier, on September 24, 2015 at 2:00 PM until September 26, 2015 at 3:00 PM.

Mr. Charles Javier

Mr. Charles Javier

This will be given by Mr. Charles Javier from Abra, a retired Teacher and Principal. He has given this workshop in many schools in the Philippines, mostly in the north and in other countries as well. At present, he is the Diocesan Biblical Coordinator of the Diocese of Bangued, Abra.

He will teach the participants on different ways of teaching the Bible that the Teacher and Pupils will enjoy while learning. The seminar includes a hands-on workshop of preparing the materials to be used by the Teacher. He has also prepared ready-made materials that he will share with the Participants. Some materials he will still make when we will know how many are participating.

This seminar-workshop is especially helpful to Catechists and Teachers who are teaching the Bible to kindergarten, primary and elementary students. This is a stay-in workshop to be held at CLFC, Talamban, Cebu City. CLFC is located at the back of San Isidro Labrador Parish Church (follow the dirt road going to the cell-site tower that ends at our green gate).

The registration fee is Php 1,800.00/person that includes board & lodging and the book Inspiration and Imagination. The things and materials that the participant needs to take along to the seminar-workshop are printed on the second page. Kindly give this to your prospective participants.

The number of participants is limited due to the limitation of working space. So this will be on a first-come-first-served basis. Please email us at clfc.talamban@gmail.com for further inquiries and reservation. You may also call us at 344-0170, 416-0089, 5116471 (my mobile landline) or text me at 0906-358-6054. Thank you very much.

Kindly let me know on or before Sept.14, 2015, so we will know how many are participating since some materials are still to be made for them. Thank you and God bless.

Sincerely yours,

Estrella (Star) del Mar

CLFC Director


Aside from personal clothes, towel and toiletries for the stay-in course, each participant is required to bring the following materials for the workshop:

  1. Bond papers
  2. 1-5 colored papers
  3. Pencil
  4. Small glue
  5. Sharp Scissors
  6. Wagwagan colored cloth (from ukay ukay), some with stripes, with small prints only.
  7. Wagwagan wool knitted sweater to be used as hair (brown color or lighter). Knits should be easily pulled out to become curly hairs for the puppets.
  8. At least one whole used newspaper with colored pages
  9. At least one to two meters string
  10. one ball for children – diameter – 17 centimeters or circumference – 57.5 centimeters
  11. Two red crepe papers
  12. One used long folder.


  1. Bible Enthronement
  2. Explanation of the various activities contained in the book: Inspiration and Imagination
  3. Presentation of models of the visual aids given in the book.
  4. Creation of visual aids: art work, newspaper figurines, hand puppets, etc.
  5. Biblical Reflection for Teachers
  6. Biblical songs and games, etc.

 Registration Fee – Php 1,800.00 per participant that includes board & lodging and the book: Inspiration and Imagination




By Estrella (Star) del Mar

20150619_114938The 9th Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Biblical Federation was held at Ad Gentes Missionari Verbiti at Nemi on June 18-23, 2015 with the theme: HOLY SCRIPTURE, SOURCE OF EVANGELIZATION. Many thanks to our new General Secretary, Fr. Jan Stefanów, SVD, for having arranged and organized everything, that made these five days an enriching and fruitful experience of the Word in its global dimension.

A Lectio Divina guide was prepared that focused on the four aspects of relationship on Word and Mission from the perspective of a “Church which goes forth.” We had Lectio Divina in small groups according to language groups and a mixture of Bishops, Priests, Religious and Lay. This was done every morning before breakfast. The Lectio Divina sharing was so enriching, inspiring and challenging as well.

The Eucharistic Celebrations, prepared by regional groups, were celebrated in the evenings except for the Sunday mass that was held in the morning with the Region of Asia preparing the Liturgy. The Sunday mass was presided by the Bishop from India and the homilist was Bishop Ambo David, DD of the Philippines. His homily is also published in the CBF-SEA website.

Bishop Ambo was inspired by the Sunday readings especially the Gospel and made a good summary of the CBF journey especially the hard and painful times. Now, we do not talk about it. We need to learn from it and move on for a new start, for our new beginnings. He proposed three steps:

  • Learn to leave the crowd every now and then.
  • Quiet, be still!
  • Have faith—in the sense of “remember”.

20150621_164955-1The homilies of our new President, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, DD, from the Philippines reminded us to be humble, forgiving, trusting, caring, and be sensitive to the Spirit to make God’s Kingdom a reality in our world. In his conference, he enumerated several challenges for us to respond to the needs of the times, to do something about the present situation and to proclaim all the more God’s Word in our lives. The Final Statement summarized these challenges there.

We are happy to have a President who leads the way, who guides us with questions and proposals that are concrete enough to show us the directions. Now, we have a lot of tasks to do. The CBF General Secretariat had prepared a blueprint of a 6-year plan of action that is concrete and doable. These were translated into programs and projects by the Regions that could be accomplished in 6 years. A sample curriculum of a 2-year course for a Masters in Biblical Pastoral Ministry was presented to us that we could easily duplicate in our sub-region. A concrete plan (based on the Luxembourg template was already worked out by the Members guided by our new South East Asian sub-regional Coordinator that is ECBA represented by Bishop Ambo David.

CBF PA 2015__DSC5956-2CBF-SEA will have its own Masters’ Program for Biblical-Pastoral Ministry at the SVD School of Theology in Tagaytay City, Philippines – which some of the faculty of the Seminary had already started in the past. We only need to enrich it and invite more CBF Experts to be resource persons. An educational trip to the Holy Land will also be a part of this course. We need to tap the Resource Persons who are already giving courses at the Holy Land. Since some possible participants may not be able to afford a long stay-in course or finish the 2-year program, some shorter modular courses will also be available for them. Bible Translation is given a priority too and need to be given the proper resources for the success of the project. The Catholic Lectionaries could be a joint project of the Bible Scholars and the Liturgy Commission. Since the Bible is to permeate all the pastoral activities of the Church, it is important that our future priests would also get a good training on Biblical Pastoral Ministry and how it is done aside from their Exegesis courses.

Workshops, meetings and communication networks were also planned out and given tentative schedules.

So much had been planned to be worked out and implemented in the next 6 years before the next Plenary Assembly.

The two resource persons: Nuria Calduch-Benages and Maricel Mena López posed challenges in the new way of reading Scriptures highlighting the challenges of Dei Verbum, Verbum Domini and Evangelii Gaudium. Cardinal Tagle put concrete images of the present situation of the world that these new way of reading and interpreting Scriptures would have to be worked out in concrete programs centering on the Word of God. Pope Francis reminded us to look at the lives of the people and their present socio-economic-political situations and make the Word of God speak to them in these present conditions for inspiration, enlightenment and hope.20150621_120436

This is also true to the Catholic Biblical Federation. We cannot continue to dwell on the past that cannot be changed as it had already happened. We had learned our lessons. We move on with wisdom, renewed inspiration and vitality to respond to the challenges of the times in God’s Word. We need to face the present realities guided by the Word which also needs to be read and listened to in a new way.

The Catholic Biblical Federation with its new set of members of the Executive Committee, the Commission groups, the new Coordinators of the regions and sub-regions will move ahead to meet these present challenges to make the Bible, the Holy Scriptures, the Word of God become more and more relevant in the lives of our people. And we begin with ourselves. We need to witness to the people the message of the Word – to build a loving, caring, forgiving, trusting and hoping community.

We pray that our number will grow and communities of the Word will flourish. We dream that people may say to our Federation “See how they love one another!” And we support each other in different ways by sharing whatever we have.

CBF has started the new beginning. Let us rejoice and be glad in the Lord as we thank our great leaders of the past that made CBF grow in number around the world. We are a global community in the Word! How happy we are to stay and share together in these few days and all in God’s Word! Praise be the Lord of love, compassion and mercy!

CBF PA 2015__DSC6394-2